Services for Young People Hertfordshire Services for Young People

Access to All STEM event inspires young people and connects them with local employers

14 February 2024

The Services for Young People Access to All careers challenge event gave Stevenage students an opportunity to learn more about careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and connect with local employers.

Young person being taught CPR.

A successful careers challenge event was held at the Hertfordshire Development Centre in Stevenage on Monday 5 February 2024 as part of the Services for Young People (SfYP) Access to All programme. 

Access to All aims to help young people explore careers in science, technology, engineering and maths and to ensure that local STEM employers have access to a qualified and enthusiastic future workforce. The programme is part of the Pioneering STEM Young Futures initiative and is funded and supported by Mission 44.

The STEM Careers Challenge event was an exciting opportunity for young people currently taking part in the programme to spend the day with employers to expand their understanding of STEM jobs and local companies.

Year 9 students from Barclay and Thomas Alleyne academies, as well as Marriotts and Barnwell schools, worked with five Stevenage companies: Hertfordshire NHS Trust, Tier 2 Consulting, DLRC Group, Airbus, and JCA Engineering. Together they took part in three STEM challenge activities requiring problem solving skills, creative thinking and teamwork. Employers also led ‘multiskill’ sessions on topics such as CPR, Makaton, and computer game coding.

By networking with employers, the young people were able to practice using professional communication skills, improving their confidence and building skills for the future.

Young people taking part in activities with employers as part of STEM Challenge event.             

The feedback from the students was positive, with 93% rating the event with 4 or 5 stars. They particularly enjoyed the interactive multiskill activities led by employers, and commented on the new skills they learned and the impact it would have on them in future:

“I am more confident to talk to employers and others.”

“I enjoyed the second challenge [multiskills] as we got to be creative and do different challenges.”

“I enjoyed teamwork and getting to try new things.”

“I liked how hands-on and interactive it was.”

77% said they had learned more about STEM careers, with 53% saying that they were more likely to pursue a career in STEM following the event.

Teachers accompanying the students also highlighted the positive impact of employers directly engaging with the young people, liking how the variety and nature of activities encouraged students to stay engaged and motivated.

The event also had positive outcomes for the employers, enabling them to improve links with local schools and increase young people’s interest about careers in their companies.

Sharing their perspectives on interacting with the young people, employees from DLRC said, “We enjoyed interacting with the young people, especially during the team building activity to build a bridge. It helped the young people work collaboratively in real world scenarios.”

Employees from Airbus commented on the enthusiasm, friendly atmosphere and laughter that filled the event, expressing how they had enjoyed “the young people’s enthusiasm to take part...” and “…seeing young people realise and use their strengths”.

 Young people interacting with employers at STEM Challenge event.

The employers agreed the event made them more likely to consider local young people as potential future employees.

To find out more about the programme, visit our Access to All webpage.

Read about other SfYP support for young people with getting a job, into education or training